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Sunday, November 2, 2008

TripCycle (just wanted to give some simple word similar to "LifeCycle" - which describes the each stage about a particular thing.)

> Where to go?
> The Super Sevens...
> Onward journey in bike
> Top of the Hill - A Tough Target
> Chilling moments atop
> Coming down the hill
> Back in Bangalore

Where to go?

these were the conv went between me n my friend Thiagarajan...
thursday night
thiagu: We can go for some trip this weekend right?
me : ya thala... there should not be any problem with that..
(we just spoke this very casually, not giving much attention to it. and only these two sentences, nothing more about that trip.)

friday night
thiagu: Where can we go tomorrow?
me: i haven't checked anything about that thala. office work u kno.. lemme check it now and get back to you
thiagu: sure. how abt sivaganga?
me: thats nice place thala... lets look for some more options also... how many are likely to turn up?
thiagu: 6 for sure.
me: thats cool... get back to you soon...

me: thala... how abt this place called 'Skandagiri Hills" thala? u might have seen few pics in forward mails, where a guy stands above clouds kno... this is that place only thala. check out these pics in this link ..
thiagu: wow... this is cool place. how far is that from here?
me: this is abt 65 kms thala.. and we need to be there at the top in early morning to witness the beautiful sunrise. which means, we need to trek in the night and they call this as "MoonLight Trek" thala. we can start from here on saturday night. this is fine???
thiagu: np.

thus the place got fixed. And we had just half day to prepare for this, but nothing specially to get ready. so, all set for a gud trekking trip.. :)

The Super Sevens...

We were Seven of us.. Anbu, Harish, Prabhu, Me, Shankar, Thiagarajan n Thilak... The Super Sevens...

Onward Journey in bike:

We all met at Shankar's house, located in BTM 2nd Stage, at around 9pm yesterday. all went to have dinner , except shankar who returned from treat, to Akshaya Bhavan. As usual, it was crowded nd delay in service, which made us to choose Friends Restaurant. Had dinner there. Meanwhile, me n thiagu went to nearby shops to get Water n snacks (britannia slice cakes n some chips). Had dinner and assembled for the onward journey at around 10:30. We made sure that we dont carry excess money and are not carrying any credit/debit cards, as our journey is in night. Better be cautious, than feeling sorry... discussed and decided not to go beyond 50kmph nd halt after every 10kms. Thiagarajan n Me in his CBZ bike, Prabhu n Harish in prabhu's Discoverer bike, Shankar n Thilak in Shankar's Flame bike and Anbu in Boxer bike. We decided to take this onward journey a leisure one, not pughing much. So, few re-checks on the fuel levels, bike's health, few snaps and gear one at 11:10pm.

To give an overview about the route, Jayadeva flyover - MG Rd - Hebbal - Devanahalli - Chickballapur - Skandagiri Hills.

Pretty simple route is it. ya.. it really was. just a straight road from BTM till Chickballapur. we took our first break at around 17kms from BTM, just few kms after Hebbal. As we were in the NH, we could experience the change in the blewing air temperature. Theory 1 -"distance covered and air temperature is inversely proportional" proved. It was getting colder and colder. i want u to have in mind that, most of us weared two/three t-shirts nd a jacket to cover it all and still felt our skin getting frozen. gr8 driving guys... second halt near the completely dark Air Force Base near Yelahanka. Got a glimpse of the new airport from far, after few kms from there, the road turned from better to bad, four lane to single line. Our third halt at an road side Shri Swami Dhaba, where we could get Hot Tea, which was to most necessary thing that needed that time. And belive me when i say that, the Tea got colder within a min as we holded it our hands. few more halts and there we reached chickballapur.

As said earlier, it was straight road (but a bumpy one) till now. We just stopped at left cut, some odd instinct to most of us. when we inquired in an nearby, thats the cut we need to take to go to the hills. sometimes, these insticts really prove benificial at the prompt time. If we had not taken this cut, it might have turned into some route hunting competition to all of us. Shankar was the one who inquired in the nearby cycle repair shop, and came back saying "there will be police station, take right after that, u'll hit a circle, take left there..". As we were discussing abt this, there came two police men and said something in kannada, all we could get from their tone is that we have to start our bike right now. If you are planning to visit there anytime, to identify which left is that, here is the description abt that cut - Once u reach chickballapur, in less than 2 km after SJC Institute of Technology, you'll come across this small Shri Balamuri Ganapathi Temple at the road side (left) and a small Vishweswaraya Statue just at the entrance of that left cut. We took that left, in few mts passed the police station, took right at the dead-end of that road, aftr 50mts from there we again got the same instinct again. this time it was a junction of four roads (and here by "roads" i mean street mud roads, very narrow ones). is this the circle which the local guys mentioned??? full confusion, and we decided to go straight as we could see something like a circle in another 100mts.

Only after reaching the other circle, enquiring the local guys there, we came to know that, the four-road-junction is the one which the cycle shop guys referred as "circle" (And there are different meaning for this word, but in the same context. different ppl refer diff locations in different places). came back to that junction, took left there (with lots n lots of doubts in our mind), went abt 100mts, gained confidence that this should be the right way, but still hacing doubt somewhere in our mind, drove for abt 3kms in the road which runs right thru the small water body and reached a small village. Just to make sure we're in the right track, we called up one of the local guy (whom i could get in touch when planning for this trip) named Madhu, who said he lives in a village called KalawaraHalli Bhetta, which lies right at the foothill of Skandagiri. As we were talking with that guy, we saw a sign board welcoming us to the hills, which gave us a big relief that we're finally goin to reach our target hill. in few mts, met Madhu and thanked him for being awake for so late and helping us to reach there. In another 5 mins, we reached the Papagini Temple, which is right at the start of the hill and this is the place where we should park our vehicle. A big satisfaction to all of us, finally we have compelted the first quarter of our trip successfully.

The whole incidents which i described in the last two paragraphs, took place at 1:30 am to 2am sunday. all the inquries (where we couldnt get anyone out in street at that time), confusions, doubts, happened in this odd hour in the sunday morning.

Top of the Hill - A Tough Target

After 10 mins of relax, we realized that we never bothered to take Torches with us. Oops. All we've got with us was this gadget which spends most of the time with us than any other person/thing in the world, our Mobile phone. And Madhu gave strong instruction to us that dont go for any guides at that place to reach the top, as there are lot of painted arrows, to show us the right path to reach the top. We kept his advice in mind and started to follow a group going ahead. did i tell you that, there were lot of vehicles parked in that parking place, who has already gone to the top, and the count was increasing as the second hand ticks. Glad that i had a SE mobile, and it proved really worthy now, as it lit our way much more like a powerful torch. everyone haveing nokia switched on the video recording to get atleast some light out of their mobile. As we started climbing up, we got ourself caught with a big chunk of ppl, which we didnt like at all. So, we took rest for few mins to let them go ahead of us.

Followed the arrows which guided us and after some time we could find those guys taking rest, we going ahead of them, afterwhich we just thought we will keep ourselfs ahead all thru the way. The path was rough and we were literally blind. the first person leading will have my mobile to get a good view of the way ahead and give instructions nd cautions for the rest of the followers. Remember me saying that we got water and snacks, yes... that proved very very vital now. As after every 10 mins of walk, walk is too simple word to describe, i would use climbing, even climbing is too simple word.. ok.. whatever it may be, every 10 mins, we take rest in the rocky place on the way. As soon as we find the other group catching us, we continued to climb. this interval of 10 mins is during the initial few mts. As time passed, and as we got closer to top, the interval timings came lesser nd lesser. And even here the "Theory 1" holds true. This time its not distance Vs temperature, now its height Vs temperature.

Yet To Be Contiued...

Monday, September 8, 2008

This is about the trip which i went exactly a month ago.

This plan was started by Thiagarajan, who said that one of his friend in Sun got a mail regarding Rafting & Adventure Trip by Exotic Expeditions. We (here 95% part of that "we" belongs one and only thiagarajan) started exploring all the other possibilities and analyzing how much each one will cost, like arranging Tempo-Traveller (TT) by ourselves (instead of taking from the club), all together arranging all the stay, trek, rafting and travel by ourselves (instead of taking from the club), etc. Inquired all know travel agencies and finally decided that taking the complete package from Exotic Expeditions is the best, cheap and worthy option. On the parallel track, pulling of known adventure lovers was also going on. All these went for about a month and finally arrived at the group of 11 and the date has been fixed as August 9th weekend.The Adventure Lovers Group..."Birds of same feather flock together" - we all got together with one thing in our mind - Adventure. We doesn't belong to same company. But we all were interested in Adventure and the enjoying fun on doing that. We are Divya - from infy, Gautham - from novell, Harsha - from oracle, Malini - from regalix, Nirmal - from oracle, Prathiba - from Sun, Me - from oracle, Shankar - from oracle, Sreelakshmi - from Sun, Thiagarajan - from Sun and Vijay - from Sun.

To Upasana...
As per the plan, everyone assembled at around 10:30PM in-front of Christ College. Thiagarajan and Malini has already bought the snacks for the whole trip, which includes cup-cakes, lays chips packets, lots of biscuit packets and all variety of snacks. Everything packed, took few snaps before starting, got into TT and introduced ourselves to the rest. Started the journey on Friday night August 08,2008, with a hindi movie "Jab We Met". Had fun watching the movie and also chatting with each other. Stopped for the first break in our journey at around 12:30 AM on saturday, some 10kms before Halebeedu. Had some Tea, took snaps and started. Next break was around 2:50 AM and only very few of us were awake at that time. Again had Tea and  started. Its wonderful to have tea during night and that too at that time when its the peak time of chillness at night. 
Everyone went to sleep after that break, except Harsha, me  and Shankar. We were sitting at the last seat in the TT. We had nothing to do except chatting and eating. By morning, around 5:30AM, where we stopped for refilling diesel in TT, we have almost finished all the cup-cakes. (i swear i took only two packets. i'm sure most was eaten by nirmal, when he was in the last seat..) It was raining all thru the way. We took our last break in our TO journey at the place called "Kalsa" at around 6AM. Finally, we reached the place where we have to stay for this trip, after checking with many ppl on the way, since no one knew the exact route to that place. That place is called "Upasana". This place was once (even now) used for practicing Yoga and Meditation. This is situated in a village called "Samse", 15km from kudremukh. Its a beautiful place to stay, with a very beautiful view of the hills and valleys. (will tell you more about the place and its contact details in coming sections)

Testing Photography talent...
We reached Upasana at around 6:45AM and was welcomed with hot coffee/Tea - our choice. But whatever the choice is, it was so damn gud to have something hot (tea or coffee. alcohol is not allowed in that place). We got our rooms allotted already, changed our costumes and came out of the room with the deadly weapon in our hand, nothing but the camera.
It doesn't matter u have the High-End SLR camera or just a mobile phone with camera. anything that captures the picture is more than enuf. The place was sooooooo scenic that none could hide thier camera in our bags. The whole place was coverd with flowers and it was green everywhere. And one more thing to note is that it was raining all time. i mean ALL THE TIME. no stopping. it'll atleast drizzle. It was non-stop photosession for around an hour, capturing every square feet of that place. This photo-session was put to end when someone said "Breakfast ready" at around 8am. 

Tremendous Trekking...
We had superb breakfast, idly, dosa, chutney, sambar, etc - all in traditional kannada style. The one most liked by all of us was Vadai or Vada. we almost lined in queue to get the freshly prepared vada's. After this splendid breakfast, we all switched to fashion models. Not by the appearance. By the kind of dress we wore. It is a plain but colourfull single polythene sac, which had three holes for our hands and neck. That almost covered the entire body. This is the rain coat for protecting us from the rain water. The head gear was the ordinary polythene cover. But this is the most simple and suitable costume to wear in the all time rainy and marshy hill path. After everyone weared and walked down the hill for trekking, it almost seemed that we are parading in the ramp. 

 Our trekking started right from coming out of that building, caz it was slippery everywhere. And we were already warned about the blood sucking Leeches, which are more abundant than the number of leaves in that place. we can see all varieties of leeches there, from minute one to huge ones. All those leeches were in hunt for blood and we were the victims for them. As soon as we went downhill, we took a diversion and planned to enter into one of the Tea Plantation. All thru our trip, we had one guy, Santhosh,  guiding us from the Exotic Expeditions Club. He was also enjoying this trip with us. he was the one who showed us which way to go. 

 Actually our plan was to go to a nearby waterfall, and do trekking
 on the way to that. But this time, we felt like we are doing more trekking than just goin to the falls. We reached that Tea plantation in about 20 mins from starting. All thru the way we could hear someone of us screaming "leech in my legs", and everyone running towards that person to pluck the leech from the skin by putting salt on it. And we were in the top of that Tea plantation , where we could see see a small stream running in the valley downhill. So we started going downhill again. But this time it was completely thru the tea plants. It was slippery and so steep that if we dont catch the tea plant, we'll slide all thru the way getting hurt. we had two things to think in our mind - One is the steep downhill and the other is not to get leech on us. so everyone was getting down with care. All took a deep breath when all of us reached the small stream. We got a big releif that leech wont be there in the water. Everyone was checking whether there are any leech stuck on our legs. So, after 45 minutes, we somewhat got relaxed in the water stream. The water was so clear and chill to some extent. From top, it looked silvery and a smooth stream. But we realised "appearances are deceptive", only when we took few steps in the stream. It was completely filled with small/big/all sizes of pebbles which will make you slip, loose balance and finally end up getting hurt. after 5 minutes rest, we started walking in the stream but against the current, passing thru all the pebbles, rocks, thorns of rose plants, etc. And now its our turn to climb up, towards where we took the diversion. it was almost like rock climbing without safety rope and instead of rocks, it was slippery mud hill terrain completely covered by tea plants. And remember, all thru this, it was raining. and inspite of wearing that protective armor against rain, we all got wet. And after struggling thru the bushes and up-hill, we finally reached the place where we took the diversion. Now its downhill in the mud road towards the waterfalls. the path was clear and it was so clear that we couldnt diffrentiate small leaf branches and leeches. So, without stopping for any cause, we started walking downhill. 

Wonderful Waterfalls...
We travelled for almost 30 minutes and finally reached the falls. there was another falls, than the main one which we came for, in a small sub-road deviating from the main road. but some local people said that we cant go near that falls. Hence we opted only for the main Falls. Didnt expect the falls to be so awesome. just took us by surprise caz of its beautiful ( i think i'm using this word often. couldnt help, caz thats truth and fact) raoring flow of water thru the huge rocks. The water was rushing down with such a force that we couldnt stand without having tight grip on the nearby rocks. when we sat in the flowing water, it was like someone throwing basketballs continously on you with full force. Adding to that was the chillness of the water. Spent almost 30-45 minutes playing in the falls. On our way back, we thought we'll have a try to go to the other falls. Only after reaching the second falls we found that, the first one was just the trailer. This was so amzong that we could sit under the huge rock where the water will pour in-front of you, without even a single drop falling on you. And it was coming with double the force of the first one. Spent 15-20 minutes there and started walking back. When coming it was downhill, hence came down without spending much of our energy. But now its up-hill. And that too after doing these many activities. The gud thing is no-one felt the tierdness, as all were together all the time , cracking jokes, chatting all the possible things, etc. So, it was fun all the time. We would have travelled atleast 8 kms on the whole. After some refreshment, we directly went for lunch. As compensation to all these, the lunch was delicious. to be frank, sweet was added in all the dishes, even in the pickle. typical kannada style. but everything was simply yummy.

Sweet little kid...
After this gud lunch, many directly went to bed for nap in the afternoon (but couldnt see the sun anywhere) and few played carrom for sometime. they also went for sleeping. And i dont have the habit of sleeping in the afternoon. Hence took my weapon ,whatelse, my mobile phone, and started roaming around that building. couldnt go out of the building as it was raining all the time. i mean ALL THE TIME. only after sometime, i could find a small kid who's running here and there, having no company in her age to play with, wanted to pass time somehow, just like me. At first she hesitated to play with me, but after 10 mins, she didnt have any choice, but to play with me . i too didnt have any choice. The ultimate thing is that i dont know kannada, and she doesnt know any language other than kannada. it was like both of coming from different planets and meeting each other. the only communication between us were sign language and the smile. First time in my life, i felt so bad for not knowing kannada. i asked her name many times. but she'll reply some other thing. we played hide n seek. she's the kid of the cook family who lived there in that place. She knew every brick of that place. So, she'll find me within no time. but it was really hard to find where she is hiding. This game continued till 5pm, when few woke up finally. And it was Harsha, who is from karnataka, to whom i told to ask her name. And when he asked her, she replied the same word, whatever replied when i asked her thru signs previously. And now came to know from harsha that thats not some kannada word, its her name,which is "Hashmitha". I was completely thrown away to the trash for not learning kannada. 

After some 10 to 15 mins, everyone woke up and had evening tea. Spent some time chatting in front of our room and went for dinner. Dinner was as usual delicious. Had very gud dinner after long time and came back. We played cards. Started with Donkey or Ass. just one round of it took more than 30 mins. completely fun. then played rummy. 2 or 3 rounds of it and then shifted to Bluff, one round of which took almost an hour to finish. All together we finished playing cards at around 10 - 10:30pm. Everyone planned to go to bed, but someone came up with an option of laying dumb-charades. So most of us, almost all, sat back for playing that game. Fun filled game went till 2:30 - 3Am next day. finally all went to bed, after this fun filled day.

Day 2....................................